Tuesday night’s lottery solidified the 2018 NBA Draft’s order, and there were some surprises. Both the Kings and Hawks jumped into the top three, leaving the Grizzlies and Mavericks out in the cold. The Suns, meanwhile, hung onto the top spot.
Given the new landscape, now seems like a good time to update our Mock Draft with a potential look at how June’s actual draft could shake out. Of course, since it’s so early in the process, everything remains fluid.
Here’s how things might go down…
1. Suns — Luka Doncic, G, Real Madrid
Age: 19.2 | Height: 6-8 | Weight: 228
This is going to be a fascinating decision for Phoenix, as the two favorites to be the No. 1 pick on draft night both have ties to the franchise. Deandre Ayton played just down the road at Arizona while new Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov coached Doncic and the Slovenian national team to a EuroBasket title last summer.
Although Kokoskov won’t be in charge of the pick, his presence in the room should give Phoenix’s front office unique insight into the top European prospect in recent history. Doncic would give the Suns another perimeter playmaker, a primary ball-handler and much-needed shooting.
Still, the decision between Doncic and Ayton figures to be a close call.
2. Kings — Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona
Age: 19.8 | Height: 7-1 | Weight: 260
Presumably the front office run by general manager Vlade Divac and assistant general manager Peja Stojakovic will be hoping Doncic falls into their lap here at No. 2, but if not, Ayton seems like he’ll be the pick despite a roster stacked with young big men.
The Arizona center possesses physical traits coaching staffs can’t teach, including immense size and impressive athleticism. His upside as an offensive centerpiece is intriguing. He can shoot it a bit from the outside, dominate switches in the post and should be a dangerous roll threat.
Defensively, there are unanswered questions about his instincts, but the tools are there.
3. Hawks — Marvin Bagley III, PF/C, Duke
Age: 19.2 | Height: 6-11 | Weight: 234
For an Atlanta team facing an uncertain offseason following point guard Dennis Schroder’s recent comments about the direction of the franchise, jumping into the top three of the lottery is a boon. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported on lottery night the Hawks will likely select Bagley here if he falls to them.
Bagley’s foundational combination of athleticism and an elite motor is something for NBA teams to build on, but his skill set offensively is still raw. There are flashes of floor spacing, short roll playmaking and face-up drives. It all remains left hand dominant, however.
Defensively, Bagley faces similar questions to Ayton, and it’s tough to imagine him as an anchor at the NBA level.
4. Grizzlies — Jaren Jackson Jr., PF/C, Michigan State
Age: 18.7 | Height: 6-11 | Weight: 242
Yes, Memphis still has Marc Gasol, but Jackson’s upside is too much to pass up here. Plus, he has the ability to knock down the 3-ball and defend the perimeter should the Grizzlies want to play the pair alongside one another for stretches.
As one of the youngest prospects in 2018, Jackson has exciting room for growth. He’s the best big man defender in the draft class and flashes exciting offensive potential. He has the potential to take over for Gasol as he ages.
5. Mavericks — Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas
Age: 20.0 | Height: 6-11 | Weight: 225
Given Dirk Nowitzki is aging and Nerlens Noel doesn’t seem part of Dallas’ long-term future, the Mavericks using their top-five pick to lock down a frontcourt piece wouldn’t be a surprise. Bamba is a raw prospect, but his potential as a rim protector and rim runner alongside Dennis Smith Jr. could give Dallas a nice one-two punch.
Bamba features a 7-9 wingspan and averaged 4.8 blocks per 40 minutes as a freshman. The offensive game is still a work in progress, though. He’ll need to find a defined role on that end to be successful.
6. Magic — Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma
Age: 19.7 | Height: 6-2 | Weight: 180
Although Orlando general manager John Hammond has previously shown a preference for length and athleticism in draft prospects, the team’s need at the point guard spot is glaring.
If everything clicks, Young has the potential to be the best player in this draft because of his pull-up shooting ability. The 19-year-old possesses extreme range and a quick release that can bend defenses. He’ll be a risky selection because of his defensive downside, but if the offense comes through, watch out.
7. Bulls — Wendell Carter Jr., C, Duke
Age: 19.1 | Height: 6-10 | Weight: 259
There’s a compelling argument for Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr. here, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s the pick. However, Carter fills a future position of need in the frontcourt next to Lauri Markkanen.
The 6-10 center is a high-IQ prospect who has potential as an offensive playmaker and floor spacer. Defensively, he projects to be a drop back big who can handle rotations around the rim where his instincts can shine.
8. Cavs (via Nets) — Michael Porter Jr., SF/PF, Missouri
Age: 19.9 | Height: 6-10 | Weight: 215
Cleveland faces an uncertain future with LeBron James’ free agency decision looming large over the franchise. Having a top-10 pick alleviates some of the pressure, though.
Porter could function either as an understudy to James should he stay with the Cavaliers, or he could be the team’s next centerpiece. Alongside James, Porter’s outside shooting and secondary playmaking would shine. On his own, the 19-year-old would need to develop into a primary scorer, which is what most expected him to be coming out of high school before a back injury derailed his freshman season.
9. Knicks — MIles Bridges, SF/PF, Michigan State
Age: 20.2 | Height: 6-7 | Weight: 230
The Knicks’ front office has already highlighted small forward as a position of need for the roster, so Mikal and Miles Bridges seem to make sense. Either selection would work, but the upside of Miles due to his youth may be slightly more attractive.
The Michigan State forward has proven himself to be a diverse jump shooter capable of spotting up on the perimeter or coming off screens. He can attack defenders in a straight-line drive off closeouts, and his athleticism is explosive. Bridges may not become a star at the next level, but he’s an excellent piece of connective tissue for a roster.
10. 76ers (via Lakers) — Mikal Bridges, SG/SF, Villanova
Age: 21.7 | Height: 6-7 | Weight: 210
Realistically, this is a dream scenario for Philadelphia, as the front office should be looking for additional shooting on the wing. Bridges is one of the draft’s elite spot-up shooters, having converted 43.5 percent of his 3s last season.
The 21-year-old is also an excellent team defender. He uses his length and high basketball IQ to be a disruptive presence off the ball both in passing lanes and at the rim. Bridges is basically the perfect piece for a Philadelphia roster already oriented around Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
11. Hornets — Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama
Age: 19.4 | Height: 6-3 | Weight: 190
Like last season, this is a difficult spot for Charlotte. Both Kentucky’s Kevin Knox and Texas Tech’s Zhaire Smith could fit here, as the Hornets have a need on the wing, but selecting Sexton could open up some options.
In the short-term, Sexton could learn under the tutelage of Kemba Walker, or he could reopen conversations centered on trading the veteran point guard. Long-term, Sexton needs to develop as a jump shooter to be a well-rounded scoring threat. His competitiveness and downhill playmaking should earn him floor time until his shot develops.
12. Clippers (via Pistons) — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky
Age: 19.9 | Height: 6-6 | Weight: 180
The Clippers will have a pair of late lottery selections to help retool a roster that missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Gilgeous-Alexander could offer the team a point guard of the future.
Although he’s not an explosive vertical athlete, the 19-year-old’s hesitation moves and headiness allow him to create looks at the basket. If the jump shot develops into something more consistent, he could be a steal.
13. Clippers — Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech
Age: 19.0 | Height: 6-5 | Weight: 195
Wing depth ought to be a priority for every NBA team, so the Clippers pick up a high-upside option here. Smith is poised to become the first non-top 100 high school recruit to be a one-and-done since eligibility rules changed in 2006. Why?
Smith is an elite athlete with a great feel for the game, reflected by the 7.0 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.5 blocks he averaged per 40 minutes as a freshman. He’s still a raw offensive prospect, lacking much of a jump shot or the ability to create, but his foundation is exciting.
14. Nuggets — Robert Williams III, PF/C, Texas A&M
Age: 20.6 | Height: 6-10 | Weight: 240
Denver is still looking for an appropriate frontcourt partner to pair with Nikola Jokic, and perhaps Williams could fill that role. The key here is Williams’ acumen as a rim protector. His 7-4 wingspan allowed him to swat 4.1 shots per 40 minutes as a sophomore.
There would no doubt be offensive kinks to work out, as Williams lacks a jump shot, but position him in the dunker spot along the baseline and go from there.
15. Wizards — Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami
Age: 19.4 | Height: 6-5 | Weight: 204
Washington’s cap situation means it will need to hit on its draft pick if it wants to improve its roster situation without being forced to rely on trades.
Walker would give the team some perimeter depth from the bench. His shooting and athleticism are positives, but his overall floor game in terms of passing and defending remains a bit of a concern.
16. Suns (via Heat) — Kevin Knox, SF/PF, Kentucky
Age: 18.8 | Height: 6-9 | Weight: 215
The importance of developing out wing depth has been a theme throughout this Mock Draft, and it’s the prominent reason for this decision here as well.
Knox is a versatile combo forward with a projectable jumper and the ability to create downhill against closeouts. He needs to develop as a defender to be more of a 3-and-D threat, however.
17. Bucks — Mitchell Robinson, C, N/A
Age: 20.1 | Height: 6-11 | Weight: 223
Although Thon Maker’s still young, the Bucks’ situation at center remains in flux. Robinson chose not to play college basketball this season, instead opting to workout in Dallas, but his potential as a rim protector and rim runner makes him a possible selection here.
Robinson, in theory, would bring a defensive anchor to Milwaukee while functioning as a nice roll threat on offense.
18. Spurs — Jontay Porter, C, Missouri
Age: 18.5 | Height: 6-11 | Weight: 240
San Antonio has historically had success with highly skilled big men. Porter isn’t the most athletic prospect in the class, but his offense has an extremely high ceiling.
He can knock it down from outside, attack closeouts and is one of the best passing big men in the draft. Add in the potential development bonus that comes with his youth, and it would make sense for the Spurs to reach for him here.
19. Hawks (via Timberwolves) — Troy Brown, SG/SF, Oregon
Age: 18.8 | Height: 6-7 | Weight: 215
Brown’s versatility as a playmaker at 6-7 should be enticing to a team in the top 20 of the draft. His size gives him upside as a defender, and the positional value of wings continues to be important. Brown’s below average jump shot remains a limitation on his offense, however.
20. Timberwolves (via Thunder) — Keita Bates-Diop, SF/PF, Ohio State
Age: 22.3 | Height: 6-7 | Weight: 235
Trading out Taj Gibson for Bates-Diop would be an interesting way for Minnesota to modernize its offense by adding another floor spacer.
The 22-year-old shot 35.9 percent from behind the arc last season and is comfortable creating his own looks, especially when shooting over defenders. Bates-Diop also brings some defensive versatility to the table.
21. Jazz — Dzanan Musa, SG/SF, Cedevita
Age: 19.0 | Height: 6-9 | Weight: 195
Utah’s biggest problem in the playoffs was a lack of shot creation on the perimeter, and that’s Musa’s biggest strength.
The 19-year-old’s scoring instincts and shot-making are serious positives, even if he won’t be ready to contribute immediately. Developing him alongside Donovan Mitchell for the long-term future is a nice path forward.
22. Bulls (via Pelicans) — Jacob Evans, SG/SF, Cincinnati
Age: 20.9 | Height: 6-6 | Weight: 210
After going big in the top 10, the Bulls need to shore up their perimeter spots. As a 3-and-D wing with quality instincts, Evans has the potential to outperform his draft slot in terms of contributing to winning basketball.
This season, he knocked down 37.0 percent of his 3-pointers and averaged 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks per 40 minutes. The 20-year-old should be a nice role player at the next level.
23. Pacers — Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA
Age: 21.6 | Height: 6-1 | Weight: 185
Pairing Holiday, an elite spot-up shooter, with Victor Oladipo in the backcourt would be a good option for Indiana here at No. 23. His shooting ability would allow Oladipo to continue to be the primary ball-handler for the Pacers.
Holiday’s competitiveness, toughness and familial history with the NBA will likely be prized by franchises.
24. Trail Blazers — Chandler Hutchison, SF, Boise State
Age: 22.1 | Height: 6-7 | Weight: 197
Portland needs to add some wings to its roster, and Hutchison is arguably the top one available at this point in the draft due to his size and positional versatility. That he’s bumped up his 3-point shooting over the past two seasons has allowed him to become a viable NBA prospect.
25. Lakers (via Cavs) — Anfernee Simons, PG, IMG Academy
Age: 18.9 | Height: 6-4 | Weight: 180
Simons is this year’s prep-to-pro prospect who will take advantage of being the draft’s unknown. The 6-4 combo guard is a microwave scorer with a theoretically high upside due to his athleticism.
Simons will need time to mature and develop, but the Lakers may have time to spare.
26. 76ers — Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton
Age: 22.0 | Height: 6-3 | Weight: 210
Length and shooting is the name of the game here for Philadelphia. Thomas possesses a 6-10 wingspan and should be able to defend either guard spot at the next level. He’s also a career 40.6 percent 3-point shooter.
Throw him into the backcourt rotation either at shooting guard or in some lineups as the point guard next to Ben Simmons, and he should be able to find a role for himself in the NBA.
27. Celtics — De’Anthony Melton, SG, USC
Age: 20.0 | Height: 6-4 | Weight: 190
Boston faces upcoming contract decisions on Marcus Smart (this offseason) and Terry Rozier (next offseason), and Melton could provide some relief if one or either player leaves. The 6-4 guard missed out on college basketball this season due to the FBI probe, but as a freshman, he showed an impressive floor game.
Melton is a high-quality defender with the ability to make plays as a passer on the other end of the floor. The jumper needs some work, but the Celtics are familiar with working in a non-shooter for stretches already thanks to Smart.
28. Warriors — Josh Okogie, SG, Georgia Tech
Age: 19.7 | Height: 6-4 | Weight: 213
Okogie hasn’t actually made his final decision on whether he’ll stay in the draft this year, but if he does, he could be a riser during the pre-draft process.
The 6-4 guard stands out as a potential defensive stopper due to his length, strength and athleticism. He’s also a career 38.2 percent shooter from behind the arc. Okogie isn’t a first-round projected prospect yet, but he could end up here by the time the draft rolls around.
29. Nets (via Raptors) — Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova
Age: 21.7 | Height: 6-2 | Weight: 190
Brunson isn’t a high-upside play, but he should be a steady presence in the NBA for a long while.
One of the best shooters in the class, he can pull up off the dribble or spot up along the perimeter. He’s also comfortable running an offense as its primary ball-handler. Brunson may top out as a quality backup point guard. That’s still nice value here late in the first.
30. Hawks (via Rockets) — Moritz Wagner, C, Michigan
Age: 21.1 | Height: 6-11 | Weight: 245
This will be Atlanta’s third first-round selection of the night, and we’ll see if they actually end up making all of them, but for now the assumption is they’ll use it to select a player.
Wagner would give the Hawks shooting in the frontcourt whether in the starting lineup long-term or coming off the bench.